Reforming allied health service provision in residential aged care to improve the rehabilitation reach: a feasibility study

Natasha Brusco (Leading Author), Christina Ekegren, Helen Rawson, Nicholas F. Taylor, Julia Morphet, Keith Hill, Jennifer Anderson, Kelly Stephen, Amelia Crabtree, Pazit Levinger, Sara L. Whittaker, Sze Ee Soh, Fiona Dulfer, Katherine Lawler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Objective. My Therapy is an allied health guided, co-designed rehabilitation self-management program for residents of aged care facilities. This study aimed to determine the feasibility of implementing My Therapy in a residential aged care setting. Methods. This observational study was conducted on a 30-bed wing, within a 90-bed metropolitan residential aged care facility, attached to a public health service, in Victoria, Australia. Staff and resident data were collected prospectively over 6 weeks (staff focus groups, patient surveys, and audits) to evaluate the feasibility domains of acceptability, reach and demand, practicality, integration, limited efficacy testing and adaptations. Results. Twenty-six residents and five allied health staff (physiotherapy and occupational therapy) participated. My Therapy was acceptable to residents (survey) and staff (focus groups). Via initial My Therapy discussions between the resident and the therapists, to determine goals and resident preferences, My Therapy reached 26 residents (n = 26/26, 100% program reach), with 15 residents subsequently receiving a rehabilitation program (n = 15/26, 58% program demand). The remaining 11 residents did not participate due to resident preference or safety issues (n = 11/26, 42%). Collecting physical function outcome measures for limited efficacy testing was practical, and the cost of My Therapy was AUD$6 per resident per day, suggesting financial integration may be possible. Several adaptations were required, due to limited allied health staff, complex resident goal setting and program co-design. Conclusion. My Therapy has the potential to improve the rehabilitation reach of allied health services in residential aged care. While introducing this low-cost intervention is feasible, adaptations were required for successful implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-81
Number of pages16
JournalAustralian Health Review
Volume48
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Keywords

  • aged care
  • allied health
  • co-design
  • empowering
  • physical activity
  • rehabilitation
  • residential aged care
  • self-management
  • self-practice

Cite this